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Granted, over time, women suffered a lot of relegation, and have had to fight for relevance. Heck, women are still fighting for relevance in this (sadly) male-dominated world. This has given rise to modern-day feminism and female rights activism, in a bid to protect and project women.
Sometimes however, it would appear to me that we (women) have gotten things quite muddled up in our bid for equality and emancipation.
For starters, who sold us that lie that that baring our bodies is sine qua non to emancipation and inches us closer to equality with men?
I mean, I watch music videos, and while our gender-folk are bumpin’ and grindin’ in near clothelessness as video ‘honeys’ (uggghhh! that term makes me cringe), their male counterparts are usually overly dressed. And I know that objectification of the female body and its parts appear to be justified in our fast, fast world, with a plethora ‘high-profile’ thumbs-up. But in reality, there is no point scored in gender equality by baring the parts that are supposed to be private. After all, we hardly see the Kanyes and Jayzs and Eminems without their trousers on.
Emancipation for me is having the knowledge that I can walk around without clothes on, and yet choose not to, just because I don’t want to - and for the (more important) reason that I am mentally balanced. Emancipation is not being stuck in the slave-trade era, where beautiful women had to bare all, for their prospective owners to decide on their eligibility for purchase. Per my busy mind: there is NOTHING emancipating about baring my jugs to every person that walks the face of the earth.
Of course, I do not condone the excuse that a woman’s dressing (or lack of thereof) is the reason a man should be animal enough to engage in rape or rapist tendencies. However, how do we keep everything hanging out, and realistically expect the brothers at work to pay serious attention to our presentation during the weekly meeting??
Nod. Nod. Laugh. Laugh. That’s all we get. And right after the meeting, they go right on with whatever condescending plan of action they had planned earlier.
Objectifying any part of a woman’s body at all is in itself demeaning and degrading, and we as a gender, if serious about empowerment and equality should not partake in this. Rather, let us objectify our intellect, which is how the brothers got to where they are today.
Bringing the discourse on female empowerment back home to Africa, there’s also nothing emancipating about letting the man get ALL the bills in the house, and expected to be treated as an equal. Yes, I’m old school, and believe to a large extent the ‘old school’ point of view that he should take the lead. But sharing the power also entails taking responsibility. These days, men also get the kids from school, and help out around the house. If we as women are financially capable, we should also be responsible enough to use our won bacon in helping with the bills, rather than frittering it all away on our hair, and gold, and cream, and...
And how on earth did we arrive at ‘I have to give IT up, for him to love/marry/be with me’?? There is nothing ‘equal’ about giving your parts up, solely for the approval of another being. It reeks of degradation, and is in itself mental subjugation. It hurts me to see young girls flaunt their ‘charitable’ abilities, as the reason their partner is with them. It is either a person wants to be with you or not. If you have to give ‘it’ up just to secure them, when they are done taking ‘it’, what’s left??
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Finally, I still do not get why when there’s a get together, the males are all laughing and jousting with each other, while the females would usually hang around various corners with sullen faces, mostly focused on their phones, barely speaking. Like a bunch of countries side by side, with no diplomatic relations. It is not that men don’t view themselves as competition. But the thing about power is that if you have it, you have no business skunking and being insecure around ‘the competition’. It hurts when (for example) in a workplace, a woman would exaggerate the flaws of another woman, whereas men have made a pretty good habit of having each other’s backs.
Dear sisters, I don’t think this our struggle for equality, relevance, empowerment and power is truly comprehensive, until we as a gender look inwards. It’s high time we realised that the power is with us, and it is what we do with it and how we interpret it to the world that matters.
Just my views anyway.